Social Studies

Programmatic Goals

The CREC Magnet Schools High School Social Studies curriculum prepares students to be active informed citizens that are members of a 21st Century global community. The curriculum follows the CT Social Studies Frameworks, based on the C3, which seeks to prepare students for Career, College and Civic Life. Through a variety of classroom experiences, students develop critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity and open-mindedness. Classroom instruction balances learning about new content and concepts with an inquiry-based learning approach. Inquiry-based learning allows students to ask questions and have the opportunity to engage in the research process to further address their questions. Each course has a lead discipline (History, Civics, Geography, or Economics). However, the curriculum integrates the different disciplines to give students a ranges of skills and experiences. Literacy in the content area is emphasized to continue to develop students reading, writing, and speaking/listening skills.  Each course includes a grade level appropriate research component, intended to prepare students for college and beyond. 

Grade Level

High School Social Studies Sequence*


U.S. History




World History


Social Studies Electives

*This sequence is a typical route taken by most students. Flexibility in course sequencing is possible from year to year based on student performance, teacher recommendation, and potential summer coursework. Additionally, the order of the course offerings is subject to change by school. Many of our schools have additional courses specific to their school/theme, which are not included in the above chart. Refer to individual school program of study manuals for further information/prerequisites for these courses.

What Classroom Instruction Looks like: 

In CREC classrooms, students will learn Social Studies within an inquiry-based approach. This approach allows for teacher-created, standards-based curriculum to come to life while allowing room for student voice and interest. Students are encouraged to think, read, write, and speak like historians, geographers, and citizens, engaging in authentic, real-world tasks to bring learning to life. Additionally, the classroom instruction will foster the CREC Essential Skills/21st Century Skills of Collaboration and Communication, Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving, and Creativity and Innovation. 

Some tasks students will be asked to engage in include: 

  • Choosing topics for and completing independent and group research projects (with age appropriate support and requirements)

  • Collaborate with peers and provide feedback to each other

  • Present for different audiences

  • Choose and evaluate appropriate sources for their projects and tasks

  • Write for a range of audience 

  • Develop an argument and support it with evidence, including both writing and speaking and listening activities

  • Utilize technology to demonstrate their learning 

  • Engage in project based learning 



Modern United States History is a required course for graduation. Students explore people, events, and movements in United States History from the Reconstruction to the present (1865-2000s).  The course focuses on changes in society, economic and political developments, and the emergence of the US as a global power. Teaching and learning in the course is centered on student inquiry.  The study of US history in the late 19th and 20th centuries requires students to generate and research compelling questions related to the American definition of freedom, equality, opportunity, democracy and our role in world affairs.  Students will be called on to analyze and evaluate a variety of documents, sources, and perspectives. Ultimately, students will drive their learning by developing conclusions and communicating them through evidence-based arguments and explanations.

CIVICS (.5 credit or one credit)                 

A half credit of Civics is required for graduation. Civics is a course to prepare students to participate in exercising their political responsibilities as thoughtful and informed citizens.  Civics provides a basis for understanding the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen and a framework for competent and responsible participation in American government.  Emphasis is placed on the historical development of government and political systems, and the importance of the rule of law; the United States Constitution; Federal, State and local government structure; international relations; and rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  Students will actively investigate local, state, national and international issues, read and participate in discussions, and develop informed opinions using informative and argumentative writing.  Students are encouraged to consider their roles in society and engage in opportunities to take action (serving the community, writing letters to congress people or local government officials, and other age appropriate relevant opportunities). 

WORLD HISTORY Advanced Placement World History

The World History course is a year-long course with an emphasis on globally inclusive content and important historical themes and connections. The course traces modern world history from 600 C.E. to present and emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach including geography, economics, and civics. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the causes and effects of world events that have led to the creation of the current world’s political, economic and social climate.  Students will engage in activities that promote the development of research, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills as part of the inquiry cycle, including but not limited to: intensive reading (nonfiction and fiction, primary and secondary source materials), participation in Socratic seminars, writing document based essays and developing a culminating research paper.


Psychology (.5 Credit Elective, AP Psychology offered at some schools)

Sociology  (.5 Credit Elective, and E.C.E. Sociology offered at some schools) 

AP Government 

AP United States History 


Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. While psychology is most often associated with clinical issues (i.e. abnormal, personality), this makes up only a small portion of the field. Other specialties within the field include physiological, social, organizational, and developmental psychology. This course provides students a background context from which to understand themselves and/or others in society.   Students will look at how people develop over time, how they behave in a social context, as well as the physiological components of human behavior. This course will serve as an overview of the major fields within psychology with an emphasis on developing an understanding of psychology as the science of human thought and behavior. Students will learn to critically analyze how people function.


Sociology offers an opportunity for students to study a Social Science and consider social phenomena. Individuals, their behavior and the groups to which they belong lay at the foundation of sociological study. Conclusions drawn from the study of the individual are used to identify patterns that exist in larger social institutions such as the family, religion, education and government. Using both quantitative and qualitative research methods, sociology also attempts to offer explanations for societal ills such as racism, sexism, poverty and social inequality. Sociologists analyze these explanations with the hope of being able to offer solutions to these same societal problems. Students will will drive their learning by developing conclusions  about sociological studies and communicating them through evidence-based arguments and explanations.


AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, they will complete a political science research or applied civics project. 


This is a full credit course where students will explore the historical and cultural roots of African-American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latinx/e communities throughout American history. Students will understand the accomplishments and achievements of these communities through examining significant events and movements  in Connecticut and the United States.  Students will gain perspectives on  historical, social, cultural, political, and economic contributions of these communities and its overall impact on the American society and identity. 

See individual program of studies courses for additional social studies courses offered at a specific school.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.